satellites in space, which was denied by Moscow, noting that what it launched was a “special tool” for testing Russian equipment in orbit, according to Agence France-Presse.
Regardless of the type of missile, the developments constitute a rare military escalation of Moscow into space. So far, the ability of a satellite to attack the last was merely a theoretical idea.
The United States, Russia and China could, and since 2019 India, target satellites with missiles launched from the ground, but this type of explosion causes millions of pieces of debris in orbit, which prompted the world’s powers to refrain from such tests.
It can be considered that this week’s incident carries a message to Washington, which is establishing, under President Donald Trump, a new “space force” in its army.
The commander of the Space Force, General Jay Raymond, stressed yesterday (Friday) that “space is a field for waging wars just like air, land and sea.”
In November 2019, Russia launched the Cosmos 2542 satellite. A week later, this satellite surprised observers when it launched a sub-satellite, “Cosmos 2543”, capable of maneuvering in orbit to monitor, search or spy on other satellites.
This sub-satellite has come close to approaching an American spy satellite, the USA-245, and from another Russian satellite. And a chase game began in orbit that could have been easily pursued from Earth by astronomers and the US military, who publicly expressed concern.
On July 15, at about 07:50 GMT, “Cosmos 2543” (the sub-satellite whose surface area is less than a square meter according to the US military) launched a relatively high velocity estimated at two hundred meters per second, according to astronomer Jonathan. McDowell.
“Body E”, as the United States called it, is still in orbit, and it does not seem to collide with anything. Its size, shape, and purpose are still vague, but that does not mean lessening the threat it may pose.
Satellites circling in orbit in a vacuum at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour. The smallest contact with any other object carries the risk of causing a gap in its solar panels, damaging it or even destroying it, depending on the size of the object that collided with it.
So, the difference between a satellite and a weapon is theoretical in space, as whatever the “body E” task is, it is actually a “shell” and thus a “weapon”, according to the United States.
This equates to a “bullet” in space, according to US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation Christopher Ford. And he said, “There is no such thing as a small accident there,” that is, in space.
Russia implicitly acknowledged this by accusing Washington and London of having inspection or satellite repair programs that could be used as “anti-satellite weapons.”
The United States has military satellites that can maneuver into orbit and can launch smaller satellites.
But it is still unclear whether the United States has the ability to launch high-speed projectiles, as did the Russians recently, according to space security expert Brian Weiden in Washington.
“But they could probably do this if they wanted to,” he told Agence France Presse.
“Russia may be trying to deliver a strategic message about the potential for endangering American regimes,” Widen said. It is reported that spy satellites are huge, very expensive and rare.
He added that Russia relies much less than the United States on satellites and its satellites are less expensive.
The commander of the American Space Force confirmed this yesterday, noting that since the beginning of the nineties of the last century, the entire American army, from warplanes to infantry, depends on space-based technology for navigation, communications and intelligence.
“We are not doing anything where space is not running every step,” said General Raymond.
The United States and Russia will have the opportunity to hold direct talks next week in Vienna, during the first meeting between the two countries on space security since 2013